Hamilton grad becomes Illini’s all-time winningest baseball coach

Hamilton High School graduate Dan Hartleb became the winningest baseball coach in University of Illinois history on Sunday.

Illinois beat Michigan 11-1 in Champaign, Ill. Hartleb has a career record of 519-383-1 in 18 seasons. He passed Lee Eilbracht, who coached from 1952-78 and finished his career with 518 victories.

Hartleb is a 1984 Hamilton graduate who was a member of the 1983 state championship baseball team. He was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2002.

Hartleb got the head coaching job at Illinois in June 2005 after serving as an assistant on the staff of Richard “Itch” Jones for 15 seasons.

“It’s a dream of mine to be the head coach here,” Hartleb said then. “I look forward to being here a long time.”

Hartleb led Illinois to Big Ten championships in 2011 and 2015. The 2015 team finished 50-10-1 and played in the NCAA Super Regional.

“For us to be here at Illinois for 30 years makes us unbelievably blessed,” Hartleb told FightingIllini.com in 2020. “As a coach, staying in one place is very, very difficult. It just doesn’t happen very often. Both Gina (Hartleb’s wife) and I have tried to be involved and give back to our community. The University of Illinois is truly home for us.”

Hartleb signed a four-year contract extension through 2027 in November.

“Dan Hartleb embodies Illinois Baseball,” Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman said then in a statement. “He is an intense competitor, a teacher of fundamentals and an established leader. He and his family are stalwarts of the local community, and Dan has grown into a very influential voice within our program. We are fortunate to have him continuing to lead our baseball student-athletes to even greater heights in the years ahead. I am grateful for his hard work and trust, and we look forward to celebrating many more Illini victories with him at the helm.”